The academic standing of Maurice Washington was a question since day one of his commitment to Nebraska. Due to transfers his last two years of high school, Washington struggled to complete core courses necessary to graduate on time. Now we have learned that he will most likely not be eligible to play this upcoming season.
So, how will Scott Frost and the Huskers deal with it on the field?
Well, as I penciled in my breakdown of the Huskers’ running backs, Washington is not vital due to the depth at his position. Devine Ozigbo, Greg Bell, Mikale Wilbon and Tre Bryant (if healthy) are more than enough to carry the rock. Plus, incoming freshman, Miles Jones, can take over the receiving back (or web-back, if you are the Dallas Cowboys) role.
Don’t take that as a “he won’t be missed and can be replaced.” Washington’s prowess on the field is something that can’t be denied. In all likelihood, he could have contributed immediately.
The four-star prospect out of Texas was ranked as the tenth-best running back in the country, according to the 247 Composite Score. In his sophomore season (in California), Washington had around 1,800 total yards and 29 total touchdowns.
After sitting out his junior season due to a transfer penalty, Washington once again balled out his senior season. At Trinity Christian (in Texas), Washington rushed for 1,253 yards and 15 touchdowns. He added 582 yards and nine touchdowns through receiving.
But Washington and the Huskers going to work it out, right?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Coach Frost and his staff have already said they are helping Washington to get some of his credits done this summer and they are still committed to him being a Husker. Washington is back in California for his summer school.
While Frost has denied it, it seems an academic redshirt is something that the Huskers should try. This would give him the ability to join the team and be a part of the program. The only hitch is that he can’t play in the games, similar to any other redshirt.
Personally, that seems to be the best option. Ozigbo and Wilbon are both seniors, so they will be gone next year. Bryant and Bell are juniors, but both aren’t sure things. Bryant has a knee condition and can’t seem to stay healthy. While Bell looks the part and has been a spring standout, there’s no such thing as a sure thing.
An academic redshirt would let Washington have a year in the program to develop physically and mentally. He would then be ready to bust onto the scene in 2019 for the Huskers, where he would have more opportunity to contribute immediately.